Sorry if these sorts of posts are frowned upon, but I wanted to check prior to posting up about the issue further.
So for the most part of this year (initial contact dating basically back to January, with a process in place a month or two afterwards - I'll dig up accurate dates if need be later) I'd paid for, and waited for a custom hoody to arrive. In total, it ended up costing me $340 CAD (more than expected, as when they posted it they noted the shipping was $120 total). Essentially it broke down into $110 for materials, $110 for labour, and $120 for shipping.
To give a timeline, here's a rough idea:
- Initial contact after seeing a friend with one of their hoodies was about Jan-Feb
- Around Feb-Mar they took my name and details, and gave me a quote for one - essentially securing the order
- Not long after they posted a "commission list" up and it showed me not on there at all. I noted them that they had already quoted me and I was ready to pay - and they noted confusion/mistake on their part and put me on the list (albeit about 3 or 4 places down as others had paid). That was OK as I figured the turnaround time would be fine.
- Not long after that I made the first payment of $110 for the materials.
- 1-2 months later I got the next bill for the labour.
- Finally in August, it was complete (the lengthy delay apparently due to them "needing to make hoodies for a con" despite these not being on the list or anything similar)
- August 29th, it ships (after I pay the next lot of money for it).
- ETA was 4-8 weeks. I figure, eh, fair enough - it's big and international.
- About 6-7 weeks pass and I let them know nothing has arrived. They tell me that "at 8 weeks they can escalate it with the post office". I contacted mine but they said they can't do anything until it's in the country.
- 8-9 weeks pass and they hadn't done anything with the post office despite a couple of notes asking for them to get me further details.
- Finally, around November 11th (about 11 weeks later) I see that it's arrived in the country. No word for a few days until I get a letter from customs (more on that below)
- After dealing with customs (a lengthy issue, took about a week), I finally got the item on the 21st of November.
- I contacted them that same day to discuss some issues with the item, haven't had a reply since.
So that's the timeline, here's a bit more about the customs issue:
She lied on the customs declaration form. She stated that the total value (with or without shipping) was $500CAD - about $160 more than the actual cost WITH shipping. Because of this, customs in my country flagged it and sent me a bill for $240~. I enquired with about 8 different customs agents and broke down how it was so much (essentially if the item is over a certain amount - about $250-350, I can't quite recall the maths behind it) - and it appeared to be due to the $500 value, the GST was a huge extra cost, and that caused about $100 of extra fees as well.
I contacted her, and asked for the REAL invoices so I had proof. She vehemently lied about her reasons for over-declaring. She said it was "to protect me". Apparently the policy she set it up under was a dollar for dollar refund if the post lost it. So essentially, she'd get:
- The cost of the materials back
- The cost of her time back
- The cost of the postage back
I couldn't fathom how she could try and claim that the extra $160 would "protect me", even if she tried to charge AGAIN for the labour, that'd still be $50 more than it'd be needed to cover.
So essentially, she's trying to scam money from the post office if things go missing (I let the post office know this and they said she'd need to provide proof of invoices so it'd essentially stop the theft - but that wouldn't stop her from forging receipts and the like).
Anyway, I contacted customs and after about 6 calls to them (they messed up twice) and despite constant pleading to see the error of her ways and such, I was only able to knock $100 of the cost of the customs fee. It ended up being about $135 total extra that I needed to pay to get it DELIVERED to me.
I shrugged this off, and waited for it. The item came last Friday...
...and it's not correct. Here's a list of the issues with the item itself:
- There's a frill on the hood part of the hoody - and despite it looking the correct green in the photos, it's black. Like, really really dark black.
- There's two horns on the wings on the back of the hoody, and these are black - also incorrect, none of the references show this (as with the above, I take partial blame for not looking into it further, but was honestly taken aback by the initial preview and the colours of the photos appeared to be correct).
- The measurements are wrong. When I measured myself for all her required figures, I gave her measurements that were several CM bigger than they should have been - and on top of that - asked for her to give a few extra so it would be loose/roomy. It barely fits. It's only JUST long enough. It only JUST fits around when zipped up (and leaving it zipped for too long gets too tight/stuffy).
- I asked a few questions regarding the hood part of it - and whether having the frill on it would be too heavy or make it unwearable on a regular basis. I was ensured that it would be fine. It weighs a LOT. I cannot keep it on my head for too long as it starts hurting after about an hour (or I have to re-adjust it from falling off the back of my head every few minutes).
- On top of this - when I leave the hood part of it hanging off my neck, it hurts my neck just as much - so essentially I have to constantly switch between leaving it on or off.
- The frill is also lopsided and always hangs to one side, causing more need to re-adjust regularly.
- The hems on the connection stitch between the hood and what I assume to be the "zipper area" (my sewing lingo is subpar at best) are frail, and have already started to pull from the sheer weight of the hood piece.
- The pockets on the front are too small. I can only fit half of my hands in each, and my phone has fallen out about 6 times due to it sticking out about halfway unless I jam my hand in there with it.
- She also showed it with a tail. I asked about this as well, as to how it was worn and whether it'd be uncomfortable to sit on. She never mentioned that it was a completely separate piece that needed a belt to wear (I only wear jeans during work, and have minimal desire to redo my belt for a daily "full wear" of the item).
I did also mention some positives to her, being:
- The material is very soft and generally comfortable/warm.
- The other colours were correct.
As mentioned in the timeline above, I sent her this info (in further detail) a week ago, and haven't heard anything from her since. I never asked for a refund or anything, just for her thoughts on the matter.
SO! Here's where you lot come in. What should I do now? Frankly, I've dropped about $500 (converted to my currency) on this item, and the great, unique, amazing thing I expected it to be is very, very subpar. Do I wear it? I have a couple of times. Do I want to wear it more? I would if it fitted better, didn't hurt from regular use, and was the correct colours. It's honestly changed from being what I expected to be my "lounge around at home hoody" and has become a "maybe if I go to a furmeet or for every now and then hoody". And in my opinion, that's not what I paid all that money for. Not to mention the extremely lengthy delay, the unprofessional lying on the value which cause customs issues - and the extra cost that came from said customs issues.
I'm leaning towards asking for a partial refund (like $110 for the labour, I guess), as it's simply not a good result. I'm further upset due to the lack of a response from my feedback. I'd have been happy if they'd even just tried to make it right - as standard customer service would dictate at least an attempt to make the customer's experience better. I don't really -need- the money, but when you pay this much for something and get a sloppy result, it's a bit annoying.
So what do you all think about this? What should I do from here? I'm not mentioning names or putting up full details as per a standard "beware" just yet - as I want to give them a chance to make good on this issue at hand. I'd rather avoid having to just leave bad feedback here and other places and have her somewhat frowned upon, but the result is not really good, and may need that. So any thoughts you have would be great!
PS: I also have another issue. I ordered a YCH from someone on July 21st, and both myself and the others involved had poked the artist for months leading up to November asking for an update (to no avail). From memory (can't check it right now) they've drawn about 35+ items since the YCH ended, and not mine. I contacted them earlier and asked for a refund; they replied saying they'd tried to kill themselves, had just had a breakup, and were struggling so bad that a refund wasn't possible - but they'd try and have the piece done "in a couple of weeks". It's been over a month now as far as I remember, and other pieces have been drawn instead of the YCH. I replied offering condolences regarding the issue, but said I would be somewhat uninterested in the piece, and that it would now be attached to all these issues. They then offered to do an extra drawing to make up for it, which I politely declined (I honestly would feel bad getting more than what I paid for, and would rather just get the drawing out of the way and ignore it or get my money back). I also offered them money if they needed it for emergencies. No replies since, but pictures still go up. Any thoughts on that one? I'd feel bad putting up an A_B on them given their issues, and they were generally really nice apart from this; it's just really slack and I'm kinda annoyed with spending money on things that end up bad or not happening at all. So yeah - any thoughts on THIS one too, would also be great.
Sorry for the huge post - and thanks to any support!